Florence Griswold Museum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Florence Griswold House
Florence Griswold House, Old Lyme, CT.jpg
Florence Griswold House in 2014
Florence Griswold Museum is located in Connecticut
Florence Griswold Museum
Florence Griswold Museum is located in the US
Florence Griswold Museum
Location 96 Lyme Street, Old Lyme, Connecticut
Coordinates 41°19′32″N 72°19′39″W / 41.32556°N 72.32750°W / 41.32556; -72.32750Coordinates: 41°19′32″N 72°19′39″W / 41.32556°N 72.32750°W / 41.32556; -72.32750
Built 1817
Architect Samuel Belcher
Architectural style Late Georgian
Website Florence Griswold Museum
NRHP reference # 93001604
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 19, 1993
Designated NHL April 19, 1993[1]

The Florence Griswold Museum is an art museum at 96 Lyme Street in Old Lyme, Connecticut centered on the home of Florence Griswold (1850–1937), which was the center of the Old Lyme Art Colony, the main center of development of American Impressionism. The museum is noted for its collection of American Impressionist paintings. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993.


The Museum's Robert and Nancy Krible Gallery, featuring 9,500 square feet (880 m2) of exhibit space and sweeping views of the Lieutenant River opened in 2002.[2]

Summer Evening, oil on canvas, Childe Hassam, 1886. Collection of the Florence Griswold Museum

In 2001, the Museum acquired the corporate collection of the Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company, once the world's largest insurer against equipment breakdown.[3] The collection included 157 oil paintings, 31 works on paper and 2 works of sculpture, all Connecticut-related.[3]

Collection highlights:

Works by Emil Carlsen, Charles Ebert, Bruce Crane and Willard Metcalf.

Florence Griswold House[edit]

May Night, painting of the Florence Griswold House by Willard Metcalf, 1906, in the collection of the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

The Florence Griswold House in Old Lyme, Connecticut was a boarding house run by Florence Griswold, where American Impressionist artists lived and painted—often directly on the walls and doors of the house. The building is now part of the campus of the Florence Griswold Museum.

Leading artists of the Old Lyme Art Colony who stayed at the boarding house were Henry Ward Ranger, Edward Charles Volkert, Childe Hassam, and Willard Metcalf. U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and his family dined with "Miss Florence" and the artists in the house.[4]

Old Lyme resident Harry Hoffman helped to save Griswold's house through a fund-raising campaign so that it could be converted into a museum.[5]

Appearance and layout[edit]

I saw a charming house that appeared like a Roman temple among the trees. Admiringly, I beheld the broad steps surmounted by four huge ionic columns that towered to the roof and formed a magnificent adornment to the mansion's front, the handsome old doorway of which stood hospitably open.Arthur Heming, artist of the Lyme Art Colony[4]

The entire first floor has been furnished to reflect its appearance in about 1910, the height of its years as an artists' boarding house.[4] Visitors enter through a wide center hall, where an "informal gallery" displays paintings on grass cloth walls. The hall also contains Colonial and Empire furniture. Two bedrooms are off the hallway — Miss Florence's bedroom and a guest bedroom. A parlor on the first floor has artists' brushes on the mantel. In that room the artist-boarders would present various types of entertainment for each other.[4] The second floor is exhibition space.

Samuel Belcher, architect of the Old Lyme Congregational Church, designed the late Georgian-style house for William Noyes. It was built in 1817.

The artists who painted on the house's doors and walls were probably following a tradition imported from hostelries in the French art colonies at Barbizon, Giverny, and Pont-Aven. A total of 41 painted panels are in the downstairs rooms.[4]

The house was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1993.[1] In July 2007 the building reopened after a 14-month restoration project.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Florence Griswold House". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-10-03. 
  2. ^ The Griswold Celebrates New Space and New Art, William Zimmer, June 30, 2002, New York Times https://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9900EEDB143EF933A05755C0A9649C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all
  3. ^ a b Zimmer, William (June 30, 2002). "ART; The Griswold Celebrates New Space and New Art". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Web page titled "Florence Griswold House" at the Florence Griswold Museum Web site, accessed January 8, 2007
  5. ^ "Harry Leslie Hoffman". The Cooley Gallery. Retrieved Nov. 26, 2017.

External links[edit]